Sarah Baartman. Nicknamed Hottentot Venus, Baartman was exhibited as a freakshow attraction in 19th century Europe and lived a life that was unbefitting for even the vilest of human creatures. Her "career" began in Britain, where she was a performer wearing tight garments which showed off her enlarged bosoms and buttocks to a relatively poor British audience. The performance soon enraged the British community, however, resulting in much controversy and the show's eventual export into to the homes of the French upper-class. What Black Venus grimly captures is not the glitz and glamour of "show business," but what happens when a naive young woman is misled by the promises of opportunity. The film explores the worst capabilities of human beings and their yearnings to manipulate and take control of others; it addresses multi-tiered issues of race, class, and opportunity and does so with faithfulness to realism, even when realism is uncomfortably atrocious.
02 June, 2011 / 0 Comments